By refusing to certify Al Franken’s Senate win, Tim Pawlenty is taking a big political risk, writes Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com. The Minnesota governor’s numbers have dropped precipitously since November; he currently has just a 46% approval rating, with 50% disapproving. The Franken/Coleman fracas may not bear all the blame, but considering that three-fifths of Minnesotans favor seating Franken, it can’t be helping, either.
National Republicans are probably promising Pawlenty their support for a 2012 presidential run, but that won’t matter if the Senate standoff helps ensure he isn’t reelected in 2010. “It is intrinsically difficult to be a Republican in Minnesota,” writes Silver. “If he is seen as carrying water for the national Republicans, he may get himself in even more trouble.”